a worthy investment?

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/al/redsox/2006-12-14-matsuzaka-signing_x.htmOK, after this article, I can’t resist any further: Dice-K is not nearly worth all the hype. I suspected as much before the season started, and continued to have my doubts about his supposed otherworldly pitching abilities even after he fanned 10 in his Major League debut. My line of thinking is this: many minor league pitchers come up to the big leagues and have a variety of pitches that are not very well known to the hitters. Maybe scouting reports are incomplete, or maybe the batters just need to get used to facing a new pitcher, but these hitters will adjust. They play baseball for a living, and their salary is earned by their ability to adapt and overcome. Dice-K’s stuff is good, no doubt, but it’s nothing they haven’t seen before from some of the top pitchers around the game.

I expect the strikeout totals to remain high, and with the run support of the Red Sox behind him, he should win plenty of games. But he’ll just fall in there below the Zitos and Santanas, in the good-but-not-phenomenal range of pitchers. As exhibited by his first few starts this year, he’s human, and he’ll make his share of mistakes. He’s far from unhittable, and teams have already made him pay – he’s now 3-2, and his ERA is a mediocre 4.36 from allowing 30 hits and 16 runs in just 33 innings. So why the all the fanfare? Why so much hype surrounding a man bought for over $103 million dollars? Oh, well the money has something to do with it – he must be good if they paid that much for him.

But what really irks me is that after he’s had several average starts (despite his far-from-average pay), he’s still getting the hype. People are still blinded by the legend surrounding Dice-K, and no one wants to accept that he may just be good. In the article which I referenced earlier, Mike Bauman has this to say about the young pitcher:

Dice-K is 2-0 against the Yankees. In baseball’s fiercest rivalry, he has been neither overwhelming nor otherworldly. But he also hasn’t been beaten, which is all that really matters.

At least Bauman is in line with me that Dice-K isn’t some unheard of talent. But yes, ultimately the record is what matters, however that seems to be admitting defeat in the battle for Dice-K awesomeness – it steers the subject away to what his team has done in his starts against the Yankees, because he’s allowed 10 earned runs in just 13 innings against Boston’s rival. Playing for most teams, this would spell an 0-2 record, but as I’ve already mentioned, he’s backed by plenty of run support. Bauman suggests that if Dice-K hadn’t signed with the Red Sox, he’d be with the Yankees. But that would just make him even more human, since most pitchers fail to achieve their full potential when they head to the Bronx.

Only time will tell if Dice-K is all he’s cracked up to be, but right now I’d be willing to bet he’s not.

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